Membership Update

April 30, 2013, 2:43 p.m. (ET)
April 30, 2013

To the USA Team Handball Community:

As the competition in Reno quickly approaches, I am writing to provide an update on developments within USA Team Handball in several areas:


    Board Chair:  As of early April, Jeff Utz has resigned from the Board of Directors and will no longer serve as chair/president of USA Team Handball.  I personally want to thank Jeff for his tireless and selfless efforts to promote and develop the sport of team handball.  Jeff should be recognized as a passionate and dedicated leader in difficult times.  In the interim, Vice President David Thompson will act as chair until the vacant board positions are filled and a new chair elected.

The Board of Directors for USATH has been composed of nine directors under the bylaws that had been in effect since 2008.  The Board approved new bylaws on April 4, 2013.  The new bylaws will be posted on the website this week.  The process to fill several vacant board seats has begun under the guidance of the newly approved Nomination and Governance Committee, which the Board approved in early April.  The members of the Nomination and Governance Committee are Tom Fitzgerald, Chair; Dennis Berkholtz; Bob Djokovich; Michael Lenard; and Cindy Stinger.

The positions vacated by Jeff Utz, Ralf Uhding, Marilyn Gauthier, Dan Kotler, and Heins Kart Pederson must be filled in order to have a full board.  The board is composed of two athlete directors (T Ebuwei & David Thompson), five “independent” directors (Tom Zelenovic, David Palmer & three vacancies) and two “membership” directors (both vacant).  The Nomination and Governance Committee will select the independent directors (currently three open positions) and the USATH members will elect the two membership directors.  All directors are required to be members of USATH at least sixty (60) days prior to being selected for the board.  

Town Hall Meeting:  On Saturday evening, May 18, 2013, there will be a town hall meeting for USATH members to ask questions and discuss the direction of USATH.  The subject of the membership based board positions will be discussed, as well as the financial position of the federation, among other topics.  The meeting will be held after the games for the day have ended, in one of the meeting rooms at the Grand Sierra.  

National Team Tryouts:  We continue to pursue the goal of improving the level of athleticism of our national teams through regular athlete identification events.  Each of the monthly tryouts we have conducted this year has produced a modest turnout, with the average of approximately 10 individuals participating.  We will be conducting another tryout in Colorado Springs in June, under the supervision of Coach Javier Garcia Cuesta.

College Nationals:    Thanks to the efforts of the UNC Team Handball Club, College Nationals was a success this year in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Congratulations to West Point Black men’s and women’s teams for winning the gold medal.  We hope that next year’s competition will bring an increased number of participants, especially on the women’s side.

Nationals in Reno:  Registration has closed for the event and the competition schedule will be released soon.   I am committed to hearing your feedback on this event in order to improve in the future.  

Beach Handball:  Under the leadership of Dede Piankova, Beach Handball Committee Chairperson, there will be a beach handball clinic in Reno subsequent to Nationals.  The clinic will be conducted by international beach handball experts and is a great opportunity for those interested in pursuing the areas of coaching and officiating beach handball.

International Competition:  Our Junior Men’s team is currently in Guatemala for the IHF Trophy Cup under the leadership of coaches Julio Sainz and Mika Maunula.  We were invited to participate on short notice and had no funds in the budget for this competition, so it is being funded primarily by the International Handball Federation with the players paying a fee for the cost of the short training camp.  

The Women’s National Team will compete in the Pan American Championships in June, in the Dominican Republic.  Christian Latulippe will lead the team in his first competition since returning as Women’s National Team Coach.  The top four teams from the Pan American Championships will qualify for the World Championships in Serbia in December.  

As always, please feel free to contact me.  My office number is 719-866-2203, my mobile number is 607-220-3464 and my email address is  

Yours in sport,
Matt Van Houten